Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for April, 2009

Clean Out Your Toxic Home!

Are you living in a toxic home? Can you identify harmful ingredients in personal care and household products? A few are listed here. If you find any of them, or any other harmful ingredients in items like toiletries, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and cleaning products which you or your family members use, please throw those items away immediately. Safe personal care and household products are available, so be a smart consumer and protect your family!

Here are some toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients to watch out for:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
This is a sneaky one as it has 144 known alternative names.

• This is an industrial degreaser and garage floor cleaner.
• Used in personal care and household products because it is cheap.
• SLS has a low molecular weight, so it is easily absorbed into the body where it builds up in the eyes, brain, heart and liver.
• Caustic cleanser. Harms hair and skin follicles.
• Routinely used in clinical studies to irritate the skin, so that the effects of other substances can be tested (Source : Wall Street Journal, Nov.1, 1988).
• Can keep children’s eyes from developing properly.
• Can cause cataracts in adults.
• Can retard healing.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. Both SLS and SLES may cause potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients.

1,4-Dioxane (or Dioxin)
• One of the principal components of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War. Implicated in the host of cancers that surfaced after the war.
• 1,4-dioxane may be created during ethoxylation i.e. the process that makes degreasing agents like SLS less abrasive and more foamy.
• 1,4-dioxane is an estrogen mimic (estrogen can trigger cancer).

Ingredients most likely contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane :
PEG, Polyethylene, Polyethylene Glycol, eth (as in sodium laureth sulfate), Polyoxyethylene, or oxynol. Also Polysorbate 60 and Polysorbate 80.

Propylene Glycol
Another sneaky one as it has 41 alternative names. Propylene glycol is a cosmetic form of mineral oil found in brake and hydraulic fluids, paint, varnishes, and anti-freeze. In skin and hair care products, propylene glycol works as a humectant, which is a substance that retains the moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Drums of Propylene Glycol are accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which reads “If on skin, thoroughly wash with soap and water”. Can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA, Triethanolamine (TEA), Monethanolamine (MEA)
A colourless liquid or crystalline alcohol that is used as a solvent, emulsifier, and wetting agent. DEA works as an emollient in skin softening lotions or as a humectant on other personal care products. When found in products containing nitrates, it reacts chemically with the nitrates to from potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines. Although earlier studies seemed to indicate that DEA itself was not a carcinogen, more recent studies show its carcinogenic potential, even in formulations that exclude nitrates.

Fluorides (Sodium Fluoride & Hexaflurosillicic Acid)
• Fluoride is a toxic waste product of many industries eg.glass production, phosphate fertliser production, aluminium smelting etc.
• Sodium Fluoride is used in rat poison
• Fluorine : used as a battlefield gas in both world wars.
• Fluoride accumulates in the body like lead.
• It is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic (Source : Clinical Toxicology 1984)
• Hip fractures are 20%-40% higher on fluoridated communities (reported in a news release titled “Study Links Fluoride to Rare Bone Cancer” issued on December 8, 1993, by the American Medical Association)

Alcohol
• Used as a solvent and found in medicines and beverages.
• Mouthwash with an alcohol content of 25% or more has been implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers (1991 study by the National Cancer Institute),
• Can also lead to accidental poisoning.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
An organic acid produced by anaerobic respiration. Skin care products containing AHA exfoliate not only dead skin cells, but the skin’s protective barrier as well. Long-term skin damage may result.

Aluminium
Used in aircraft components, antiperspirants, antacids and antiseptics. Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Bentonite
A porous clay that expands to many times its dry volume as it absorbs water. Used by fire fighters to suffocate forest fires by eliminating available oxygen. Found in cosmetic foundations. Healthy cells need oxygen and this blocks it out.

Collagen and Elastin
Derived from animal carcasses and ground-up chicken feet. Found in most skincare products. Forms a layer of film that may suffocate the skin.

Kaolin
A fine white clay used in making porcelain. Like bentonite, kaolin smothers and weakens the skin.

Fluorocarbons
A colourless, nonflammable gas or liquid that can produce mild upper respiratory tract irritation. Commonly used as a propellant in hairsprays.

Formaldehyde
When combined with water, it is used as a disinfectant, fixative or preservative. Irritant and a carcinogen. Found in many cosmetic products and conventional nail care systems.

Lanolin
A fatty substance extracted from wool. Used in lotions and cosmetics. Can cause allergic reactions due to toxic pesticides in the wool. Some 16 pesticides were identified in lanolin sampled in 1988.

Mineral Oil
Used in baby oils. And you thought baby products should be the safest ever! Derived from crude oil (petroleum). Mineral oil forms an oily film over skin to lock in moisture, toxins and wastes. Hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out.

Petrolatum
Petroleum-based grease similar to mineral oil, with the same potentially harmful properties.

Salt
Drying, corrosive, irritating. Used to thicken personal care product preparations because it is cheap.

Talc
One of the leading causes of ovarian cancer.

Protect your family. Clean out your toxic home now!

Get Fighting Fit – Start Today!

Sickness – is it inevitable? Eczema and acne amongst kids, is it a phase they must go through? What about aging problems like arthritis, bone ache, aches and pains, digestive disorders, feebleness, cardio and respiratory illness, failing eyesight, and dry, wrinkly skin?

I used to think many of these health problems were a fact of life. Bummer, as they can really spoil your enjoyment of life. Since being diagnosed with cancer several years ago, I’ve discovered that many of these ailments are actually due to a disorder or imbalance in the body. Rectify that imbalance (often a deficiency in something the body needs to function properly) and you’re pretty much on your way to genuine health and wellness.

People living in modern, urban societies are exposed to all kinds of poisons and toxins – in the air, processed foods, personal care products like toiletries, skincare and cosmetics, chemical-laden household products such as cleaning products and detergents, building materials like asbestos, décor items like paint, furniture, fittings, and soft furnishings, cars and other vehicles packed with plastics and various chemicals, office products like computers, copiers, printers and carpeting, foods which are tainted with fungicide, pesticides, chemical fertilisers, hormones, steroids, antibiotics etc.

The list goes on and on. It’s really shocking when you think about what we’re exposed to on a daily basis. It’s a miracle that there are any healthy people around at all! Frighteningly, many seemingly-healthy people are really ticking time bombs. The foundation for a devastating disease – like cancer – may already have been laid. They just don’t know it.

Sure, you can’t change everything. Start with areas of your life that you can improve. Your personal care and cleaning products for a start. Make sure that they’re free from known carcinogens and other harmful ingredients. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.

Get particular about what you put inside your body. What are you eating? What are you drinking? What kind of nutritional health supplements are you taking, or not? Are you doing as much as possible to build up your immune system? That’s your first line of defence, so feed it well with all the good nutrients which will help to boost your immunity.

Are you getting exercise on a regular basis? Maybe strenuous sports is not your thing, but you can surely go for a walk for at least 20 minutes each day! Find a route that you like, and always go with a companion. Remember to observe safe practices in every area of your life.

Is the air you’re breathing every day fresh and clean? If not, do something about it. Move if necessary. About a year and a half ago I moved to a place by the river and near the sea, lush with trees and other vegetation. Nothing blocks my view and the skies are always clear. I’ve never seen so many stars at night before.

If you don’t have any obvious health or “aging” problems now, thank God. Take a long, hard look at what you’ve been exposing yourself and your loved ones to, and eliminate any bad habits and factors from your lifestyle. Determine to only indulge in healthy practices and pursuits. Don’t let anything cheat you out of a long, full and happy life.

The Way To Wellness

Why “Healing Pastures”? Well, one thing I’ve discovered over the years since being diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2001 is that healing encompasses mind, body and spirit and it is also a process. Apart from miracles, it’s not something which happens overnight. Award-winning gardens don’t just happen, do they? You have to give them tender loving care, feed them with the right nutrients, and be on the alert against any harmful elements. Then they’ll thrive.

You know that saying “garbage in, garbage out”? How true. You are what you expose yourself to. I never used to read the labels on food products, cleaning products, skincare, cosmetics and other personal care items. How stupid I was to not consider how toxic or harmful these items often are. Do you realise that many consumer products have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredients, as well as other ingredients which can cause health problems?

Now I study all ingredients carefully before purchasing any products. I don’t assume anymore that a product is harmless simply because the brand is well-known. Although it may cost me a little more. I insist on using safe skincare, cosmetics and other personal care products. These are products which are free from known cancer-causing and other harmful ingredients. I’m fussy about the quality of cleaning products I buy for my home too. They must be safe and environmentally-friendly. It’s not easy to find a brand which has a wide range of non-carcinogenic, safe products. Fortunately, I did my research and found an American manufacturer with a strong safety-conscious policy. I get practically everything I need from Neways.

As far as possible, I also avoid processed food, to minimise poisoning my body with chemicals. Most meals are prepared fresh at home, and they include plenty of vegetables and fruit and very little meat. In addition, I blend all kinds of fruits and vegetables everyday first thing in the morning. With blending, the fibre isn’t wasted. Oh yes, organic is best too, if you can afford it.

Healing has a spiritual side to it too. Humans are not just physical beings. Sadly, most people neglect their spiritual health. They let wrong believing and unhealthy thinking mess them up – “garbage in, garbage out” – and imagine that all should be well simply because they spend exorbitant sums of money on expensive health supplements, fitness programmes and spa treatments.

We are what we think and focus on. I used to spend many of my Sundays just lazing around. Spending time with God was not a priority. When challenges came, I had to face them alone, when I needn’t have. I know now that My Maker loves me and will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Studies have shown that stress can cause sickness. I’m attending a great church now which has brought me much joy and peace, and the encouragement and prayers of caring friends. My only regret is that I didn’t discover it much earlier. How much I have missed out on!

Now, why “pastures”? Nature is resplendent with healing plants and health-giving elements like fresh air and sunshine (your body produces Vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant, when it is exposed to sunlight). We need to learn to utilise the healing power in God’s creation, which is abundant and often free. We also need to get away from stressful and unhealthy environments and make time for the body, mind and spirit to rejuvenate. Melatonin, another powerful antioxidant, is produced when we get sufficient sleep and at the right time, so don’t compromise on REST. It helps keep sickness, disease and even aging at bay.

Green pastures are so soothing and refreshing, don’t you agree? Psalm 23 from the Bible beautifully conveys the importance of rest:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me beside the still waters
He restoreth my soul
(Psalm 23: 1-3)

May Healing Pastures rejuvenate you!